Friday, March 06, 2020

Friday News And Views

Trade mags are reporting lots of disruption due to the COVID-19 Virus.
NAHBS Reschedules Due To COVID-19 Virus Issues - Other Events Threatened: 

As you probably know, the world at  large is being disrupted in several ways due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Supply chains from the Far East are behind schedule and fears are rampant that bicycle retailers will have little inventory come the Summer which is peak season for retailers in North America.

Events are not without disruption as well. The UAE Tour was cut short and several people associated with that event have been held in quarantine since. Apparently several Northern Italian classics are under the threat of cancellation or postponement. Thursday the news came out that the Strade Bianche has been cancelled due to fears surrounding this virus. Now word comes from the trade paper, "BRAIN", that NAHBS, the handmade bicycle show to be held in Texas soon, has been postponed until August now. Even Sea Otter is postponing their 2020 event due to this virus according to another "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" article.

While widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has not occurred here in the U.S., it is conceivable that large scale gravel events may also be threatened to postpone or cancel if that were to occur. It is something to keep our eyes on, certainly, but for now, there is little concern that this may happen. The inventory issues retailers will likely face is definitely of much greater concern at this time.

To go "boinger" or to go "bendy"? That is the question.
 Seat Post Challenge: 

So I've had the unique opportunity to use some excellent vibration damping seat posts in the past, and now in the present, and I have future opportunities awaiting me as well. That means I am in the perfect position to give a "Seat Post Challenge" review. Here's my thinking so far coming into this.....

First of all, the obvious thing to assume is that a suspension seat post is the "clear winner". But is it? My experiences have been mixed here. Sometimes a suspension seat post, like the Kinekt, or the Redshift ShockStop, is a great thing to have on a ride. Sometimes it feels like a power-sucking tool of the devil. Besides the fact that these things weigh a metric ton compared to standard posts, which matters. Some aren't very friendly to seat packs either. So, a suspension seat post isn't necessarily the answer, and sometimes it is a negative.

Then you have the "flexible" posts. Posts made from carbon fiber, and to a lesser degree, titanium and then aluminum. These are much more familiar feeling, can handle seat bag mounting, and almost always weigh less than a suspension seat post ever will. (This depends upon how you classify the Specialized CG-R post) That said, carbon fiber, while strong, can break catastrophically with dangerous consequences. (No hyperbole here- it's happened to me.) Many folks don't want that possibility nor want to have to deal with consequences of a possible break in a carbon post out in The Styx of rural America. Obviously, metal posts have a more robust track record, but they flex even less in most instances, so you give up a lot of comfort for peace of mind.

I've got two suspension seat posts, (Cane Creek and Redshift), experience on two versions of the Kinekt, and the Specialized CG-R, if you categorize that as "suspension". I've got that PRO Carbon with Dyneema post, a Whiskey Parts post, and a couple Salsa Regulator Titanium posts around here. Plus several standard aluminum posts including a Thomson or two. Between all those, and my experiences, I should be able to come to some conclusions.

I've been looking into accelerometers  for my iPhone to see if that wouldn't aid me in my quest to see what works and what doesn't. I've seen a few things but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. However; even if that doesn't happen, I'm going through with this. So, stay tuned for my results throughout the coming Spring weeks.

The Noble GX5 will be sporting the aMTBer Smoothe Lube to start.
 Lube-Off To Get Underway:

I've got two bikes set to go now on the Lube-Off which was announced recently. The contenders are WPL Wet Lube, Lilly Lube, and the aMTBer Smoothe Lube 1.2.

The Noble GX5 will be sporting the Smoothe Lube 1.2 and as a matter of fact, it has had it on for a while already. I'll be doing a finishing up on time with that lube and then move this bike over to the WPL Wet Lube to get that rotated into the mix.

The Fargo Gen I will be getting Lilly Lube. Although the Lilly Lube says it can go over any previous lube, since it self-cleans, I will be stripping the Fargo's chain anyway and keeping a level playing field with regard to the other lubricants in this test/shoot-out. So, I should be started with all of this as you read this today. Look for any updates soon, as the time limitation is six hours, and after that a final verdict on each lube is given.

The "control" lube is still the DuMonde Tech lube which I am running on the pink Black Mountain Cycles MCD. I already have a couple hours on that one as well. Keep in mind, the chain was touched up after the last Lube-Off and has not had any maintenance since that time.

 C.O.G. 100 Hats:

Check it out! N.Y. Roll models the new C.O.G. 100 hats which just came in Wednesday. Each participant in the event is going to receive one of these at either the pre-race event at Peace Tree downtown Grinnell, or you will get it when you check in at the event venue.

The design was put together by myself and executed by Bike Rags which is located here in Iowa. Check them out if you need any custom apparel for your club, team, or event. N.Y. Roll and I have been pretty happy with their stuff and customer service is top notch. Bike Rags is our supplier for the Iowa Single Speed Gravel Championship jerseys as well.

I have access to a few extras in regards to the hats. One is spoken for. I may have a couple others. If you really have to have one, make me an offer. I'll see what I can do. Otherwise this is it. We wanted to keep these special for those riders that committed to the C.O.G.100.

Okay, that's all for this week! Have a great weekend and get out there and ride!


Bob said...

I suspect you'll find seat posts are a lot like shoes, some for dancing, some for hiking, and some for every other activity in-between. For where and how I ride the Salsa Regulator checks all the boxes.

James said...

Concerning seatposts, it is said that the "diameter" also plays a role? A reason many have stayed with the 27.2 (standard?) diameter. The dilemma than being potentially stuck with whatever diameter the maker/designer has decided works best be it engineering or cost? wise? Then there is the trend of propriety post design such as the new? "d-style" post which adds to (supposed) flex?

Also agree with Bob and the idea of multiple designs for a particular use, with the idea personal preference plays a role as always. Adding one more variable? that of setback? which can be as much a fit benefit but also believe it plays into flex and comfort?

As always thanks for all the great info look forward to what y'all do for the community and as many, value the opinions as it can get messy out there with the information "overload" at times.

Would be interested in a COG hat also understand the idea of earning it, unfortunately not in the cards this year as life has interrupted riding for the moment? However, with the Spring looking forward to getting back out there has been way too long. Recall also that there have been some great TI shirts etc? can not recall but you had a few leftovers kicking around at one time (again love the idea of keeping the history alive and representing bummed will never get to experience the TI), can't find the pic but believe the theme was the TI kicking one's butt could be mistaken though do recall it being a 2x which caught the attention as definitely a "Clydesdale" at 6'5"ish another 230 plus (racing weight as they say) reason enjoy all the info as believe you (and Matt?) are over 6 feet also.

Look forward to making out your way someday, hopefully for one of your great rides if nothing else?!?!

Apologies for the rambling but again thanks for all you do and look forward to more of your adventures and projects as they materialize, like many, your "blog" is one of the first stops every day.

One last question has been on the mind over the winter and you may have covered elsewhere, concerning Fat Bikes and the mythical "fit"? Believe your Ti Muk 2 is large? (reviewers often leave size out on reviews or posted elsewhere etc?) congrats btw a well-deserved gift? again believe it shows the impact you have on the community, the question being sizing "smaller" or not understanding totally a preference until it affects the intended design/use of the bike.

Do hope the early Spring weather finds you this weekend and as always look forward to seeing the Adventures and pics(Barns for Bryan?)....


Guitar Ted said...

@Bob - I understand what you are driving at there. I think perhaps I didn't make myself clear in that I specifically am looking at this from a gravel road riding perspective. So, nothing for mountain biking, bikepacking (well- maybe a little) or commuting/touring/city riding, etc.

Rydn9ers said...

Hats look rad and you got Rolls best angle.

Guitar Ted said...

@James - Thanks for the compliments! I appreciate that you read the blog regularly.

On diameter- Totally plays a role! Bigger diameter posts flex less easily, given all else remains the same. In the case of the Ti Muk 2, it has a 31.8mm seat tube ID for that size post. However; Sam, the previous owner, had a shim with a 27.2mm post inserted so he could run the Ti Regulator from Salsa. Shims for seat posts are okay, and readily available, so any bike that would normally accept a larger diameter seat post than 27.2mm can be "shimmed down" to accept the 27.2mm posts, which yes- are typically more flexible.

T-shirts. I had not considered possibly re-introducing certain designs for resale to Trans Iowa fans. I think that in fairness to those who committed to Trans Iowa that I would not reissue exact replicas of those designs, but possibly do "commemorative" designs instead. i think you would agree that doing exact replicas makes having the original less special from the standpoint of all else those t-shirts likely mean to those Trans Iowa participants.

Adding into that would be that the particular image you are referring to was designed by Gary Cale and I had permission to use that design he came up with for his T.I.v4 postcard entry. So, that's a sticky wicket and I'd not pursue that design for a reissue.

I have given thought to doing a commemorative T.I. shirt design, so if enough folks wanted that, I could pull the trigger on doing them. But that's something that falls further down my list of "to do's" currently. I wouldn't get too excited about that just yet.

Fit of bikes- I guess I would always say you need to get the bike that is recommended. "Sizing down" is done sometimes for various reasons, but for someone that just wants a solid bike that feels good and wants to have fun? Get the correct size bike- every time.

Again- Thanks so much for your comments and for reading the blog.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers - HA! I'll pass that along to him..... :>)